NS Gives $400K To Brilliant Labs
April 08th, 2015
The Nova Scotia government announced Tuesday it will contribute $400,000 to Brilliant Labs, an initiative that encourages technical education in schools in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Premier Stephen McNeil said the government will ensure the initiative operates through all eight school boards in the province in the 2015-16 school year.
Under the terms revealed Tuesday, the not-for-profit initiative aims to provide lab space, to teach a range of technical skills and to encourage collaboration with industry.
A statement from the government said it will offer labs where students can work with such equipment as 3D printers. It added the program will “help students gain skill and experience in engineering, metal and woodworking, fashion, textiles, electronics, robotics, rapid prototyping and fabrication, computer programming, video-audio engineering.”
The statement also said Brilliant Labs will begin a project-based learning fund designed to assist teachers by providing resources and support for science, technology, engineering-entrepreneurship, arts and math projects.
“Brilliant Labs helps teachers incorporate technology, creativity, and entrepreneurship into the classroom,” said Education Minister Karen Casey in the statement. “Students are encouraged to be creative and explore new ways of using technology, helping prepare them for the type of innovation needed to have success in any field.”
Brilliant Labs is the brainchild of David Alston, the Chief Innovation Officer of the Fredericton-based startup Introhive. At an awards ceremony in Fredericton two years ago, he offered to work with anyone who wanted to encourage the teaching of programs in schools. It led to a program in New Brunswick that aimed to support individual teachers who chose to teach coding to students. Brilliant Labs is now working with teachers in more than 200 New Brunswick schools.
Around the same time, GoInstant CEO Jevon MacDonald was calling for more tech education in Nova Scotia and a group of tech diehards began to introduce the program in that province.
“This is about encouraging students to think of new solutions and look at challenges from a different perspective,” said Jeff Willson, executive director of Brilliant Labs. “Through hands-on learning, students get to express their creativity, find innovative new ways to use technology to solve problems and put their ideas into action.”